Hack Your Lunchroom to Improve Productivity

Last Updated Oct 15, 2008 11:01 AM EDT

418244440_416e963cf6_m.jpgI recently stumbled across a study, conducted by the International Labour Office (ILO), that discussed the link between good nutrition and productivity. The report is three years old but offered several thought-provoking findings, including:
  • Inadequate nourishment can cut productivity by 20 percent
  • In the United States, the annual economic costs of obesity to business for insurance, paid sick leave and other payments is $12.7 billion
  • In Southeast Asia, iron deficiency accounts for a $5 billion loss in productivity
  • In India, the cost of lost productivity, illness and death due to malnutrition is $10 to $28 billion, or 3 to 9 percent of gross domestic product.
Of more direct interest to managers and employers, however, were some suggestions on how to improve cafeterias and lunchrooms to improve worker nutrition.
  • Remove unhealthy food from lunch menus (in cafeterias) and vending machines
  • Ensure high standards of hygiene in areas where food is prepared or consumed
  • Provide chairs, tables, a sink, a refrigerator, and a microwave in a kitchenette
  • If you don't have a kitchenette available, invite a local caterer daily to sell food
  • Consider offering company meal vouchers good for discounts at nearby restaurants
  • During meetings, supply fruit instead of sweet or fatty foods
  • Provide sufficient time during lunch breaks for workers to obtain and consume healthy meals
Definitely food for thought, if you'll pardon the pun.

Any other suggestions for improving workplace nutrition? Share them in the comments!

(image by salimfadhley via Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • CC Holland

    CC Holland is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a number of national magazines. Online, she was a columnist for AnchorDesk.com and writes regularly for Law.com and BNET. On the other side of the journalism desk, she's been a managing editor for ZDNet, CNet, and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, where she earned an APTRA Best News Web Site award.